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25 Best Holiday Cookies

Here’s a roundup of our favorite, tried and true cookie recipes for the holidays (and beyond, of course.) They can be made ahead of time and are freezer friendly.

The holiday season is synonymous with cookie baking, cookie freezing, and cookie eating. Here’s our delightful collection of tried-and-true cookie recipes that will dazzle everyone who tastes them. From family treats to homemade gifts, we hope these recipes will make the season that much brighter.

25 Days of Christmas Cookies (Plus 2 bonus gluten-free recipes) …

  1. These 4-Ingredient Pecan Sandies are even better than the store bought version we enjoyed as kids. Plus, they’re super easy to make at home using just 4 real ingredients.
pecan sandies, pecan shortbread cookies, pecan cookies
Buttery Pecan Sandies

2. Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies – Who knew jam thumbprint cookies would become the most pinned Christmas cookie on Pinterest, could we?

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

3. Salted Caramel Kiss Cookies – These are THE cure for any cookie & caramel craving.  Soft, chewy, and made with the depth of browned butter.  Lightly sprinkled with flaked sea salt.  

Salted Caramel Kiss Cookies

4. Samoas Cookie Bars Recipe – These cookie bars are awesome all year round, but they’re certain to stand out amongst all the others on that Christmas cookie plate. Perfect for Girl Scout cookie lovers. (Pssst: these bars are totally better than boxed Samoa cookies, but let’s keep that between us.)

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Samoas Cookie Bars

5. Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (with or without icing) – these are every bit as thick and chewy as bakery cookies, and loaded with the goodness of rolled oats and plump raisins. Feel free to omit raisins or swap them out for chocolate chips.

BakeryStyle Oatmeal Cookies

6. Snickerdoodle Pudding Cookies – Snickerdoodles are must-haves in the world of Christmas cookies. These cinnamon sugar delights are extra chewy, with the addition of a little pudding in the dough. Not only does it provide elevated yum factor, it allows these cookies to stay chewy soft for days. Cinnamon chips not required, but highly recommended. 

christmas cookie exchange recipes

7. Chewy Soft Ginger Cookies – These ginger cookies are chewy and delicious, thanks to the combination of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses. 

Chewy Ginger Cookies

8, Chewy Monster Cookie Bars (One-Bowl!) – Who’s on board with one-bowl cookie recipes? Especially when they’re in bar form, which makes them even easier. All you have to do is use Christmas colors for your M&M’s and you’ve got yourself the perfect holiday-edition monster cookies.

cookie exchange recipes christmas cookies
Switch out the M&M colors for the holidays

9. Best, Big Soft Sugar Cookies – Confession: I never liked sugar cookies or frosting (please still be my friend.) That is, until I met these big, soft, sugar cookies here. These are seriously the queen of sugar cookies. They’re reminiscent of famous Lofthouse sugar cookies, but these are Even. Better.

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Better than Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

10. Almond Blossoms (Kiss Cookies) – These delicious morsels are an amazing twist on the classic peanut butter kiss cookies. With a touch of almond extract and almond kisses, these Almond Blossoms are supremely yummy. Plus, they just look so darned cute. And people like cute cookies. 

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Almond Infused Kiss Cookies

11. Chewy Chocolate Brownie Cookies – Clearly, these chocolate brownie cookies are not just for the holidays. Although these chocolatey cookies are a hit anytime of year, they’re a [very] appreciated sight on any cookie platter.

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Cookies that remind you of brownies

12. One-Bowl Chewy Blondies Recipe (Cookie Bars) – These blondies. They’re the fail proof base for all my chewy blondie variations throughout the year. Think green and red for Christmas; pink and red for Valentines; red, white, and blue for 4th of July. Use this same chewy cookie base for all the celebrations. Someone literally came up and told me these blondies reminded her of the best thing her grandmother ever baked. 

christmas cookie exchange recipes
THE best blondies ever

13. Twix Thumbprint Cookies Recipe – These yummy morsels of buttery cookie, caramel centers, and chocolate drizzle are simply irresistible. Of course, you know these thumbprint cookies taste better than Twix. 

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Caramel Thumbprint Cookies taste like Twix

14. Snowball Cookies (Russian Tea Cakes) – These snowball cookies might be the most humble cookies I had ever seen, before I tasted one. If looks can be deceiving, these cookies are the prime example. They’re HUGE on flavor and melt-in-your-mouth amazing. These little guys may actually be my very favorite Christmas cookie of all time.

snowball cookies, russian tea cakes, mexican wedding cakes, pecan balls
Melt-in-your-mouth Snowball Cookies

15. Carmelita Bars – Loaded with oats, coconut, and caramel, these Carmelita bars are an instant winner. Watch them disappear from the dessert table faster than you can say Carmelita. Just be sure to grab a few for yourself before they’re all gone. 

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Bars

16. Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Bars – It’s not a Christmas cookie exchange without white chocolate and cranberries. These Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Bars are somewhat akin to Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars, but these aren’t quite as candy-heavy. A generous drizzle of white chocolate does the trick. It’s an irresistible combination of flavors. 

Cranberry Bars with White Chocolate

17. 3-Ingredient Buttery Shortbread Cookies – These are a great gift-giving option, as they keep super well and won’t melt like chocolate. People love receiving these buttery shortbread cookies all wrapped up in cellophane. That’s if your family doesn’t snatch them up first.

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Easy, Buttery Shortbread Cookies

18. Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies – these slightly crispy yet chewy cookies are piled mile-high with rolled oats.  The old-fashioned kind, not the quick cooking kind.  Make them while butterscotch chips are in season.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

19. Perfect Vanilla Cut-Out Cookies – a buttery, chewy, tasty cut-out cookie that can be decorated to your heart’s content.

Vanilla Cut-Out Cookies

20. Chewy Coconut Macaroon Cookies – This 5-Ingredient Coconut Macaroons Recipe yields cookies that are crisp on the outside and chewy in the center. They’re sure to be an instant hit with all the coconut lovers in your life.

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

21. Soft Batch Funfetti Cookies – festive, delicious, and a plate of cheerfulness. The dough can be made ahead and chilled until ready to bake. Great way to bring on the fun!

Soft Batch Funfetti Cookies

22. White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies – The addition of a secret ingredient makes them superb. Both the dough and the baked cookies freeze beautifully.

white chocolate macadamia cookies
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

23. Orange Chocolate Lace Cookie – these crispy, buttery cookies are an oldie but goodie. They’re fun to make and even better to eat.

orange lace cookies
Crisp, Buttery Orange Lace Cookies

24. Christmas M&M Cookies, soft-batch style, without being cakey. These keep incredibly well at room temperature for days, and can also be frozen.

Chewy Soft Christmas M&M Cookies

25. Double Chocolate Biscotti Cookies – For those mornings or afternoons when you can stay in and sip on a hot mug of coffee or tea… bring in these double chocolate Biscotti cookies.  They are the perfect dunking cookie.

Crispy Sweet Biscotti Cookies

Bonus: Gluten-Free Cookies

christmas cookie exchange recipes
Chocolate Chip Cookies that are secretly gluten-free

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies that happen to be gluten and dairy free are oh-so-satisfying. Loaded with big peanut butter flavor.

Peanut Butter oatmeal Cookies Gluten-Free
Chewy Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

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